New Reviews of Old Comics
One of the trademarks of comic collecting is runs; how many continuous issues of a given title do you have? To me it’s symbolic of dedication to a given title because for some of them it takes a lot of patience (and money) to build up those runs. The Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man have always been important runs for my collection. Back in my heavy collection days any title I even remotely liked I tried to get the entire run. This is why I have complete set of Dazzler and The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones. Now that I’m more of a reader than a collector the complete runs aren’t important to me; I just want a good story. Sometimes it might span multiple issues so I’ll look for those, but otherwise I’m content trying new titles. The exception to this “rule” has been Mister Miracle from 1989, of which I’ve bought the first 10 issues.
Issue #2, “Doctor’s Orders” by J.M. DeMatteis (writer) and Ian Gibson (artist), rightly picks up where #1 left off with Doctor Bedlam crashing a dinner party hosted by Barda’s new neighbors and Scott Free, Mister Miracle, being hauled off by Bedlam’s animates. Bedlam thinks he finally has the famed super escape artist under control having taken away all of his gadgets (including Mother Box) and outfitted the trap to invade Scott’s psyche with his deepest fears, snakes, which only intensifies the more he struggles. This leaves Bedlam able to enjoy the party and taunt Barda a little bit. This is his first mistake because Barda can only contain her temper so long and that fuse becomes even shorter when she thinks her husband is in danger. Bedlam has also hatched a plan to poison the town’s drinking water, turning everyone into some kind of monster, or in Oberon’s case, a dog. Of course figures out a way to extricate himself from Bedlam’s trap (he always does) and help save the day. The issue ends with the High Father from New Genesis, Scott’s father, making an appearance. Yes, it’s enough to make #3 sound pretty damn good.
Obviously I’m a Mister Miracle fan and this issue has done nothing to dissuade me from that. DeMatteis does right by Kirby’s original creation having Scott and Barda as down to earth super-powered characters. Scott is cool as a cucumber even when his on the verge or death (or worse) at Bedlam’s hands. Barda is a solid female character, something that is all too rare in comics, much less comics from 20 years ago; dedicated to her husband but still more than able to take care of herself. Oberon is just, well, Oberon. Overall the story is a good mix of action, humor and maintaining the whole Fourth World mythos. The one minor drawback is Ian Gibson’s art, which I can best describe as schizophrenic; some panels are really good while others are barely mediocre, almost like two different people were drawing them. The cover is very cool, but page three is a disaster. Barda looks great when she’s in her full Female Fury gear, but sort odd looking when she’s dressed as a normal human. Go figure. Thankfully the roller-coaster art isn’t enough to detract from the issue as a whole. I’m still looking forward to reading issue #3.